Chicken wire
by Geddy Gibson     (this story is published under a Creative Commons 3.o license)

Slide guitar and harmonica haw-haw-hawing on the juke. Allman Brothers or some shit. Place smells like redneck. Looks like it too.

   She's at the bar. Wearing somebody's cowboy hat. Too big for her. The cheap Walmart kind. What kind of bird dies for the little feathers they always have in the hatband?

   Her eyes fix forward and she does not turn her head my way. That's how I can tell she’s spotted me coming in. Doesn't want to seem interested. I walk up to her.

   "Holla!"

   She widens her eyes at the chick she's talkin to. Smirks. Then she slowly turns her head. Looks down at my crotch and shoes while taking a drag.

   "Holla? What the fuck is with that Gwen Stefani shit? What is this, 2005?"

   Her friend almost does a spit take with her beer. It dribbles down her chin, and she wipes it on her sleeve.

   I smile big. She looks at me, cocks her head like "Well?"

   "I want to see you in chicken wire," I say.

   Her face goes slack for a second. I feel like her pupils must have widened, but it's too dark to tell for sure. She reaches back toward the bar to ash her cigarette and buy time. Tries to figure what to say next. Her friend looks confused.

   "What the fu--?"

   "You heard me the first time. I wanna see you in chicken wire. Actually, specifically, I wanna see you on chicken wire. Laying on top of it."

   Her friend starts in with one of those throat chuckles that sounds fake. Sounds like a pigeon doing a mating call.

   "Damn, this boy is fucked up!" says the friend after she finishes clucking. She's says it in one of those wigger voices. I don't bother to look at her.

   The girl I’ve chosen is still staring straight at me. I wait for that look in her eyes where she gives up. Where she knows. Where she lets herself be herself. I can feel it coming, even though she is trying to give me a hard look.

   "Just why the hell d'you want to see me--whut, um--layin'? On chicken wire? 'Zis some kinda...?"

   "You skin is soft, thin. You've stayed out of the sun. And you're plump..."

   Her friend gets up off of her stool.

   "NOW JUST A MINUTE, MOTHER FU--"

   "I can handle this, Cam...CAM?!...I can handle this. Ah'ight?"

   She looks back at me as Cam sits back down. A pull on her beer buys her another second to think. She drinks it from the side of her mouth, one eye closed, the other on me. I see the "Yes" in the open eye. I feel my internal heat hit my groin. I smile.

   "What makes you think I'd let you treat me just any old way like that? Huh?"

   She bobs her head when she says it. Cam looks all indignant, convinced that her friend is holding her own.

   "I want to see your beautiful body stretched out on the chicken wire. I want to see your white skin against the wire. The weight of your body pushing the skin through the openings, in little eye-shaped bulges. I want to rub my hands across those ridges. Rub my--"

  "This shit is too fucked up," Cam says. She puts her left hand up in that "talk to the hand" way. "Let's go to the little girls room, Bailey."

   Bailey looks at me. Her face is flushed.

 

A long pause. Cam stands there, staring at Bailey.

 

Suddenly, Bailey’s face goes blank and she gets off the stool. I turn and she follows me toward the bar entrance.

   "HEY!! BAY-LAY!!" Cam yells across the room, over the music.

   I hold the door open for Bailey, grinning. She keeps her head down, brushes past me. I move ahead and lead her to the car in silence.